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Help Release Lebanese Administrative Detainees

B'Tselem calls on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan: Help Release Lebanese Administrative Detainees

In a letter sent today to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan upon his arrival in Israel, B'Tselem raised the plight of the Lebanese citizens held in administrative detention inside Israel.

B'Tselem has information on nineteen Lebanese nationals currently being held in administrative detention inside Israel. Some of these detainees have been held for eleven years without charge or trial.

Israel recently approved for publication that its High Court of Justice detaining these individuals as "bargaining chips" in negotiations for the release of missing and captured Israeli soldiers. In his letter to the Secretary-General, Executive Director Eitan Felner stated that detention under these circumstances constitutes a form of hostage-taking which violates the most basic principles of justice.

B'Tselem argued that the release of detainees held without trial could serve as an important confidence-building measure in the search for a negotiated solution to the conflict in Lebanon. The organization called on Annan to use his meetings with Israeli officials to advance this goal.